LEISURE facilities in Burnley will be managed by a trust from today.
Burnley Council and Burnley Leisure signed the agreements for their new partnership arrangements last week.
The trust, known as Burnley Leisure, will manage and operate St Peter’s Leisure Centre, Padiham Leisure Centre, and the Mechanics Theatre.
In addition, the trust will provide arts and cultural development services, sports development and play services, and healthy lifestyles programmes.
Coun John Harbour, the council’s executive member for leisure and culture, said: “The project to establish the partnership has gone extremely well.
“I am confident that Burnley Leisure will not only continue to provide excellent leisure services for Burnley residents, but will develop a wider range of services that will further improve the leisure and cultural offer in the borough.”
Burnley Council believes the formation of a leisure trust will save it around £300,000 a year.
The trust, which will have charitable status, will also benefit from new freedoms and flexibilities around how it operates the service, and will be able to bid for grants to help with funding.
A shadow trust board has been in place for four months, and has worked with the council in developing a range of agreements to reflect the agreed partnership provisions and key outcomes to improve the health and well-being of local people.
Charles Green, chairman of Burnley Leisure, said: “It has been clear from the start that the council wanted to establish a successful trust, and we are keen to meet that aim and excel in inspiring active, creative and healthier communities, and provide even more opportunities to enrich people’s lives.
“The new trust board includes members with a wide range of experiences and interests, and I am confident that, along with staff within the trust, we will ensure that the services going forward will continue to be of the highest quality and focus on the needs of residents and visitors to Burnley.”
The trust will work in close partnership with the council.
Coun Harbour said: “The transfer does not mean any facilities are going to close. It is up to the leisure trust, as an independent body, to make decisions on things like prices and new services now but, as things stand, I don’t think anything is going to change.
“The transfer hasn’t resulted in any job losses, which is the wonderful thing about this. All the staff have been very supportive of the move.”